Our analysts rose from their chairs and cheered!


Sam Stein makes a winning suggestion: This happens very rarely.

Last night, the analysts rose from their chairs and cheered—while they were watching Hardball!

The analysts were watching Sam Stein of the Huffington Post as he discussed a new ad by Obama. In the ad, Joe Soptic, a man who got canned by Bain Capital, discusses the subsequent death of his wife.

The analysts weren’t even sure he was right on the merits. But Stein was breaking the rules of the cable world, in a way which might teach liberals and progressives how to win.

This is what the gent had to say about that new ad from Obama:
MATTHEWS (8/7/12): Last word, Sam.

STEIN: I mean, I just want to say this ad has been actually fact-checked in the interim. It looks like there are distortions with this one, too.

The wife unfortunately died six years after Bain closed the plant. She also had access to other insurance in the interim. And it's very tough to charge Mitt Romney with being tied to her death. So if we are going to be equal opportunity fact-checkers—

HENDERSON: And he doesn’t do that. He actually doesn’t want to have that—

STEIN: Well, the suggestion—hold on, hold on. The suggestion is obviously made. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have put out the ad. So I think we have to call a spade a spade and say this one probably pushed it.
Say what? For unknown reasons, Stein was suggesting that liberals should be “equal opportunity” fact-checkers! He was saying that liberals should report problems with Obama’s ads where such problems exist!

Needless to say, Chris Matthews and Nia-Malika Henderson seemed a bit confused by these strange ideas. The trio had spent the bulk of this segment describing the bullshit in Romney’s new ad. (To watch the full segment, click here.)

Now, Stein was saying there might be problems with Obama’s ad too! What was up with that?

For ourselves, we don’t know how to judge the implications and claims in Obama’s new ad. For a New York Times AD WATCH, click this.

That said, our analysts knew how to evaluate Stein. Our analysts rose and they cheered!

Their evaluation went something like this:

In Christopher Hayes’ somewhat slippery new book, he correctly notes that the American public widely distrusts our elites. He says that distrust has been earned.

We agree with both these points. Watching Stein, we saw the conduct we have sought since we liberals finally emerged from our long hopeless nap in the woods:

If voters thought they could trust liberal elites to give them straight information and judgments, mightn’t we start regaining their trust? Voters never get straight talk on Matthews’ show, where he used to lie for the GOP, where he now lies and dissembles for us.

A funny thing happened after Stein spoke. Henderson began to explain the things she knew about Obama's ad! In the past few months, Henderson has been turning into a cable hack as she plays more and more Hardball. Now, she expanded the zone:
MATTHEWS (continuing directly): What do you think the guy is saying there? What do you think that guy is saying, though? What do you think he thinks?

STEIN: What he thinks is that his wife ended up getting thrown off insurance and then they had to scramble for her coverage. Listen, that's a legitimate statement—thing to be concerned about.

And it is fair to say, yes, Mitt Romney was more concerned about profit than his workers’ health care. But then to throw Romney into a conversation where you are talking about this woman’s death six years later, I think is a bridge probably too far.

HENDERSON: I asked him [Joe Soptic] about that. And he said he didn’t necessarily make that link either, but that his main point was that he felt like Romney cared more about profits, didn’t make good on some of the promises that Bain made to secure their pensions and health insurance. And that was the main point of that ad.

MATTHEWS: Well, let’s see more of these cases. If there is a pattern here, it is going to hurt him a lot. Anyway, thank you.
Henderson had spoken to Soptic, the man whose wife had died, about that very point! But she wasn’t going to say what Soptic told her until Stein forced the point.

Henderson has been turning into a hack before our eyes as she works with Matthews, a consummate cable con man. Our view? Voters might learn to trust the liberal world—if we started acting like Stein, if we stopped handing them the consummate bullshit which increasingly defines the work of the pseudo-liberal world.

Sam Stein said a ridiculous thing: Liberal elites should be truthful, trustworthy, honest!

As Hector said of Paris, "Strange man." Sam Stein suggested that liberal elites should tell the public the truth!


  1. Aside from the specific inaccuracies about Joe Soptic and his late wife, it's ridiculous to blame Romney for a death in the family of an employee who lost his job. A CEO's policies continually lead to hirings and firings. The CEO didn't kill every person who lost his job, nor did he resurrect every person hired.

    Our President's policies also lead to hirinigs and firings. The kind of ridiculous reasoning used in that ad could lead to the ridiculous conclusion that Presdident Obama killed 59,757 people, because his policies dampened economic growth in the US.

  2. David - the assertion is that Romney's business decisions led directly to gutting the company benefits. If you want to make an argument, go ahead. But focus on the actual assertion being made.

  3. The Howler clearly needs a fact checker: the ad isn't "by Obama." it's by a super PAC. This is how the Howler keeps us dumb.

    1. Will the Howler publish a correction? Can we talk? It just isn't done, darlings!

    2. I'm kind of curious. Did Bob's analysts rise to cheer when certain pundits pointed out the utter lie in Romney's "welfare" ad that claimed Obama had ended the "work requirement" when he approved waivers requested by Republican governors?

      You know, exactly the thing Bob has been screaming for 13 years that "liberal" pundits DIDN'T do for Gore?

      Bob seems to be only concerned with running to the daily defense of the "worst candidate in history."

    3. To put Bob's mind at ease, the Washington Post -- you know, the paper that is delivered to his doorstep -- was on this story pretty quick.

      And, Confused? Can you imagine the days of ranting he would do if Rachel Maddow said that a Super Pac ad came from the Romney campaign?

    4. Yep. The Obama team knew nothing about the ad. Except for having used the man, Mr Soptic, in a conference call with reporters in a May 14 conference call. But that was almost three months ago. So, no connection.

      * * * * *

      When President Obama’s aides said they weren’t familiar with former Missouri steelworker Joe Soptic’s life story, all they had to do was check their own campaign archives.

      Soptic, laid off from Bain Capital-owned GST Steel, stars in a Priorities USA Action spot this week in which he tells of how his wife died without health insurance after he lost his job. Soptic also appeared, wearing what appears to be an identical shirt, in a May television ad for the Obama campaign.

      . . .

      But Cutter hosted an Obama campaign conference call in May in which Soptic told reporters the very story featured in the Priorities spot.


    5. Nice try, but whether the Obama campaign knew about it or not is irrelevant.

      It is NOT an Obama campaign ad, as Somerby said it was. It IS a Super PAC ad.

      Somerby has wasted years, words and blood pressure railing against these kinds of simple "errors" when others make them.

    6. Funny thing:

      Somerby's critique doesn't rely on this being "Obama's ad" AT ALL.

      Replace "Obama's ad" with "a SuperPAC ad supporting Obama" and absolutely nothing about Somerby's critique would be different.

      You're the one going on, wasting words and blood pressure over the trivial.

      You think this error is the equivalent of perpetual mis-statement of "quotes" by Al Gore? Or of exactly what?

      You going on and on about doesn't make it equivalent.

      If I may quote you (for yes, we all assume it's YOU):

      "false equivalency!"

    7. Oh please! Somerby wrote this and he even put "Obama's ads" in italics for emphasis:

      "He was saying that liberals should report problems with Obama’s ads where such problems exist!" And he repeats the phrase "Obama's ad" several times.

      But even for the sake of argument accepting your pitiful attempt at spin as true, it is still irrelevant.

      Bob goes on for days and days when one of his hated targets makes such an error, accusing them of everything short of serial murder and other crimes against humanity. Now how will he react when he is caught making a pretty dumb mistake?

      False equivalency? Now that is rich! Somerby apparently is better at setting standards than following them.

      One might be tempted to call that hypocrisy.

    8. "such an error"

      You've been asked, but you apparently cannot answer:

      What is an example of "such an error" criticised by Somerby when done by one of his "targets?"

      An error that was the equivalent of a typo, one that made no difference at all to the argument being made by "the target?"

      An example?

      You got one?

      Or are you as full of shit as you always are?

    9. Pity the poor Somerby-hater! So starved for reason and common sense.

      ""He was saying that liberals should report problems with Obama’s ads where such problems exist!" And he repeats the phrase "Obama's ad" several times."


      And that's why the "error" you've seized on like an innocent but dumb little puppy doesn't matter at all.

      Somerby would still make the exact same argument if you replaced the formulation you hate, "Obama's ad," with "an ad supporting Obama."

      Try it, dummy:

      "Stein was suggesting that liberals should be “equal opportunity” fact-checkers! He was saying that liberals should report problems with ads supporting Obama where such problems exist!"

      It makes literally no difference.

      Somerby's argument doesn't rest in any way on whether it's a PAC ad or an official campaign ad.

      The meat is whether liberals can criticise their own tribe or not.

      Those who can read and think, get it.

      You? Not so much.

    10. Pity the poor Sombery-lover. Head so far up Somerby's keister that he can't see the difference between accusing the candidate and his campaign for putting out a bad ad that was actually put out by a Super PAC.

      Now in my view, if you are going to write a screed about how awful an ad is, and the strawmen "liberal elites" who defend it on MSNBC with the whole world supposedly watching, you might want to get the basic fact right about who put it out.

      But that made no difference to Somerby, nor any difference to the few people who still cling to his every word to help them to think.

      Now at the same time that Somerby once again rushes to the defense of Mitt Romney, the Romney campaign actually DID put out a very false ad claiming Obama had ended the work requirement for TANF, using the dog-whistle term "welfare" repeatedly. (Oh, I forgot. The Marquis de Somerby rules forbid anyone from calling a blatantly racist ad "racist." That just makes people mad!)

      Which ad does Somerby go after, and which campaign does he accuse of false advertising? The one that DIDN'T put out the false ad.

      And both of the fans Somerby has left will pretend it doesn't matter.

    11. The point of the post quite clearly has nothing to do with "accusing" Obama of putting out the ad.

      You're just making that up.

      And you have no response AT ALL to the validity of the fact that changing "Obama's as" to "an ad supporting Obama" changes nothing at all.

      But of course you don't.

      Your role here is precisely to misinterpret and mis-state.

      Which is why you STILL can't point to one example that justifies your rant?

      We'll wait (forever, it would seem) for you to show us where Somerby is endlessly taking to task "one of his hated targets who makes such an error."

      Where is the example?

      You don't have one. You've got nothing. As always.

      Hilariously, you end your most recent attempt to miss the point with a most spectacular fail: "Which ad does Somerby go after, and which campaign does he accuse of false advertising?"

      The post doesn't "go after" the pro-Obama ad, you big dope!

      The post is about praising that rare thing -- a person who suggests that Their Own Tribe should be held to a high standard.

      You understand that, but cannot abide it.

      So you complain that it isn't a post attacking a Romney falsehood.

      We can't make you up.

      But we can mock you.

      Didn't you promise you were going to go away?

      We didn't believe you, of course. Rightly.

      Stick around. You're fun to bat.

    12. "We?" Now there's a tell.

    13. That's all? Sad boy. I'm not Somerby.

      Do you really have, finally, nothing at all?

  4. You Decide.

  5. According to this timetable, Soptic’s wife's death really really really has nothing to do with Mitt Romney.

    •1999 – Romney leaves Bain to run the 2002 Olympics (paid leave of absence)
    •2001 – GST goes bankrupt
    •2002 – Joe Soptic laid off, Soptic’s wife does not lose health insurance (She had health insurance through her own job.)
    •2002 or 2003 – Joe Soptic’s wife laid off from her own job and loses her own health insurance
    •2006 – Soptic’s wife dies of lung cancer previous undiscovered because she refused to go to the doctor


  6. Clearly, fact checking is not a standard anymore. It's not easy to sift through the rhetoric.

  7. DinC,
    If Mrs. Soptic had lived in Massachusetts under Gov. Romney's health care plan she would have had health care, she might not have refused to go to the doctor, and might still be alive today, along with many of the 59,757 people you mentioned.
    Source: Andrea Saul.

    On the bright side, if Andrea Saul loses her job, she will be able to get insurance, thanks to the Democrats, and despite the most furious efforts of compassionate conservatives.

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